BRAWLEY — Senior Brawley Union High School wrestler, Joey Navarro, begins his day with practice at dawn, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. After a light breakfast he’s on his way to school, followed by after-school practice.
Navarro goes home, has dinner, and wraps up his homework. Then it’s time to rinse and repeat.
His dedication is strong as he has big goals for this year’s wrestling season and his wrestling career beyond high school.
Navarro has spent his high school career building his wrestling repertoire, starting his freshman year when he went to CIF and qualified for masters. During his sophomore year he went 30-6 and made his way to the top of the podium as CIF champion. He went on to place second in masters and qualified for state.
Navarro has set his goals for the upcoming season — becoming CIF champion once again and making sure his team wins title number 21. He hopes to become masters champion and beat Poway in the finals. Beating Poway is a motivator for Navarro.
He is also working to become Brawley's first ever state champion.
Navarro will take wrestling as far as he possibly can, aiming for the Olympics and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He said his dream as a kid was to be in the Olympics. As many UFC fighters come from a background in wrestling, he said he desires to make it to that level as well.
The most exciting thing about wrestling for Navarro is seeing daily progress in himself. Little-by-little, he watches himself improve and become a better wrestler.
CIF will be hosted in Brawley this year. Navarro is excited and understands how important it is to his team, as they are coming back to regain their CIF champion title.
With senior year coming to an end soon, Navarro wants to spend the majority of his free time with family since he will be heading off to college soon. Navarro is eyeing Iowa State because he said it is the nation’s top wrestling school. Arizona Christian University, Arizona State University, or another school that is near California would be other options, pending Iowa State University acceptance.
Navarro said he wants to pursue a career that would help give youth better opportunities for their future. He said he wants to feel like he is doing something positive and impactful, leading to his desire to pursue criminal justice.
Despite seniors being allowed to have free periods, Navarro has a full class schedule, alongside a dual enrollment course.
He said balancing everything can be difficult, especially the pressure that comes from being a wrestler, but said it is worth it in the end.
Navarro said he desires to be the "strongest of the strong" and "fastest of the fast."
One thing Navarro really enjoys about wrestling is the individuality of the sport. He said wrestling does not require the athlete to rely on teammates and the work an individual athlete puts in, speaks for itself.
Navarro’s idol is Nick Soriano — an underdog in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Navarro looks up to Soriano because he goes against all odds, injuries, and once he sets his mind to his goals, he accomplishes them.
Navarro said he can relate to that feeling of overcoming any obstacle. His number one message to athletes is to never give up. Navarro said he wants to be remembered in the wrestling room for not giving up, no matter what the struggle was.
Navarro will take on the mats starting at 145 pounds. However, he will make his way down to the 140s after December since he will have the 2-pound allowance ability.
Navarro is preparing for the upcoming season with ferocity and hopes to make Brawley proud as he said, “wrestling is Brawley’s rock.”